National Dog Show Noon to 2pm
Every year we remind our readers to watch the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day and each year we always receive comments asking us specific questions about dog shows. We thought that instead of just reminding you to watch the show this year we would answer some questions that many dog show newbies (even those who watch the show every year don’t really understand). Conformation Dogs Shows are more then a beauty pageant. In fact any dog even suspected of being medically enhanced would be excused from competition. Judges are however looking for dogs that are structurally sound (its bones and muscles are in all the right places), a dog that has the proper coat for the breed that can mean everything from color to markings to texture and length, and has the right temperament for some dogs like those in the terrier group that means they will engage other dogs (you might see a judge pull two dogs out from this group and they engage in a stare down) to a working dog that would not be allowed to show any aggression while in the ring.
National Dog Show Facts:
The National Dog show is one of the three major dog shows in the United States, along with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and the Westminster Dog Show. The National Dog Show has been ongoing since 1843 and was first televised for in the United States for NBC Thanksgiving 1999; the show immediately follows the network’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and airs at noon in all time zones. John O’Hurley is the program’s host, and the show’s presenting sponsor is Nestlé Purina PetCare.
THE NATIONAL DOG SHOW is an open, benched all-breed show. The dogs are “benched” during the day in order to allow you, the public, to view and visit with 175 AKC recognized breeds that may be competing (since this is an open show anyone may choose to enter their dog into the event there are no invitations ,champion status or lottery system in order to compete in this show). This also means that there is a possibility of a new young show dog to compete and make it to the Group judging and many years there has been. There are only five benched shows held annually in the United States: Westminster KC, Philadelphia KC, Detroit KC, International KC, and Golden Gate KC.
BEST IN BREED
In order to win “Best In Show” a dog must first be judged the best of many dogs of its same breed competing in the show. Some breeds have more than 100 dogs entered and the breed competition is fierce other breeds might only have 5 entries or there could only be one entry in the breed it would then be up to the judge if they feel the single entry is a good enough example of the breed to allow it to move on in competition. The winner of the breed moves on to the Group judging.
FIRST IN GROUP By winning the Group competition, that dog joins an elite group of winners of the seven group competitions that go on to compete for the ultimate “Best In Show” award, the coveted red, white and blue ribbon, and to become winner of The National Dog Show.
Why are there 7 different Group Competitions before we get to Best in Show?
Each of the 175 registered breeds are assigned to one of the seven groups representing characteristics and functions for which the breeds were originally bred. The seven Group winners then go on to compete for Best In Show.
What are the 7 Groups?
TERRIER GROUP The geography of the specific area where terriers come from (water, rocky terrain) helped to determine the exact duties of each breed but it usually involved hunting vermin and varmints. These are dogs of great determination, courage and self-confidence, with a great willingness to go to ground in search of their quarry.
Toy dogs have been around for centuries, and are bred for one purpose: to be companions for their humans. Many have been bred down from and still resemble their larger cousins in looks temperament and the desire to perform the jobs that their larger cousins still achieve. You would be hard pressed to try and find a Cavalier King Charles owner whose dog doesn’t try and hunt small animals or a Yorkshire Terrier owner whose dog doesn’t try to go after mice or small rats.
WORKING GROUP While the uses and appearances of the dogs in the Working Group vary, most are powerfully built and intelligent, performing various tasks for their handlers. These dogs are working farm and draft animals. They guard homes and livestock, serve heroically as police and military dogs, security dogs, guide & service dogs and hunters.
SPORTING GROUP The invention of the gun led to the development of the sporting, or gun dogs, to aid in hunting upland game birds or waterfowl. While a number of these breeds perform more than one task, it is generally the duty of pointers and setters to point and mark game; for spaniels to flush game; and for retrievers to
HOUND GROUP Most of these breeds were developed to hunt somewhat independently for their humans, who usually followed on foot or on horseback as the hounds chased down the prey. This group consists of scent hounds, dogs that hunt by tracking a scent (beagles, bloodhounds) and sight hounds (Greyhounds, Saluki), who spot their game and run it down.
NON-SPORTING GROUP The AKC originally registered dogs as either Sporting or Non-Sporting. Eventually, hounds and terriers were split from the Sporting Group, and the Toys and Working dogs were split off from Non-Sporting. Today, the Non-Sporting Group is literally every breed that is left, resulting in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, coat, function and history.
HERDING GROUP Herding is a natural instinct in dogs that is seen in the wild. Humans have used that instinct to their advantage on farms and ranches with herding dogs who have the sole purpose of gathering and moving livestock from one place to another.
What are the judges doing when they examine the dogs in the ring?
The judges in this competition are looking for the dog that best exemplifies what is known as the breed standard. Each judge is looking at each individual canine’s physical attributes and comparing those with that judge’s knowledge of the breed’s written standard based on bone structure, shape, movement, temperament
Why do the handlers trot with the dogs?
That funny run looking thing some of the handlers do when presenting the dogs is something they have practiced and perfected over the years they have been working with dogs as it highlights the dog’s movement. This way the judge can see that the dog does not have any significant structural issues that would make it unfit for the breed’s purpose. Every dog from a giant Great Dane to a little Chihuahua are supposed to move in a particular way. Any signs of limping or lameness would mean the dog would not advance to the next level of competition and in most cases would be left home or pulled from competition the day of the event.
Will you and your family be watching the National Dog Show this year?
What breed will you be cheering on?